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China’s biggest relocation project yet

October 5, 2011

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By Kathleen E. McLaughlin

In order to transform this stretch of the Qinling mountains prone to earthquakes and landslides to a safe urban zone, and to channel the river north, the Shaanxi provincial government will move more than 2.5 million people off the rivers and mountains. In the north of the province, another half-a-million people are slated for relocation.

That 3 million is twice the number of people resettled to make way for the world’s largest dam, at the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River.

Shaanxi’s relocation plan, tied in part to China’s massive South-North Water Diversion Project, will change the geographic heart of the country. The Han River, which runs through these mountains, is a key tributary of the Yangtze. It’s one of three channels being diverted to deliver trillion of gallons of water per year north.


….Mountainside banners urge farmers to “send clean water to Beijing.”

For that reason, they’re being moved off of their own farmland, pushed toward organic farm practices and encouraged to take jobs in the emergent construction industry. Near Qiyan, villagers hope a bottled-water factory will employ many of those who lose their farms.

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